HUD and Census Bureau Release New American Housing Survey
According to the new 2017 American Housing Survey recently released by HUD, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), renters are three times more likely to need financial assistance to evacuate during a major disaster than those who own their own homes. The new survey finds that of the nearly 44 million American renter households, approximately 39 percent indicated they don’t have access to $2,000 to cover evacuation expenses. Meanwhile, only 12 percent of 77.3 million owner households reported they don’t have access to $2,000 to pay for their family’s evacuation.
Each year, HUD and the Census Bureau produce the American Housing Survey (AHS), the most comprehensive analysis of the nation’s housing inventory. The AHS covers a variety of “core” housing topics, including the composition and quality of the nation’s housing inventory, mortgages and other housing costs, and neighborhood conditions.
For the second time in five years, HUD and FEMA teamed up to add questions related to households’ disaster preparedness. The questions cover several aspects of disaster preparedness, including whether households need help evacuating pets—more than 13 million households said “yes.” When households were asked to name their first source of emergency information during a disaster, a nearly equal number of households said “television” (37.9 million) and “Internet” (37.4 million).
The 2017 American Housing Survey includes questions that allow researchers to track changes in key disaster preparedness measures compared to 2013. For example, approximately 4.4 million more households indicated they had an emergency evacuation kit in 2017 compared to 2013. Other national findings among the 121.2 million occupied housing units surveyed include:
- More than half (50.8 percent) of renter households spend 30 percent or more of their income on housing costs.
- The median rent was $850 per month while the median mortgage cost was $900.
- The median total cost of utilities was $202. The median cost for electricity was $106 per month and the median cost of water was $50 per month.
- About 16.4 percent of households report their neighborhood has a lot of petty crime. Renters (23.5 percent) were almost twice as likely as owners (12.3 percent) to report their neighborhood has a lot of petty crime.
- About 7.6 percent of households report their neighborhood is at high risk for flood or other disasters.
- Of the 64.1 million occupied housing units in subdivisions (including apartments and groups of mobile homes), 14.4 percent are located in secured communities with walls or fences, comprising 7.6 percent of all occupied units.